CITY, ST. – Per capita solar power capacity grew 149 percent in New Hampshire last year, according to a new report by Environment New Hampshire Research & Policy Center. The growth rate put the state 3rd in the country for solar power capacity per person added in 2014.
Lighting the Way III says every state in the country gets enough sun to meet its energy needs many times over, but the states who ranked the highest for solar per capita were those with policies that allow increasing numbers of homeowners, businesses, communities and utilities to “go solar.”
“We’ve got plenty of sunshine. Combine that with commitment to clean energy policies,” said Jana Wilkes, Campaign Organizer with Environment New Hampshire, “and New Hampshire can be a leader on solar energy.”
Of the top 10 states listed in the report -- Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, Massachusetts, North Carolina -- all have renewable energy requirements, and nine have strong laws to allow solar customers to connect to the electricity grid and sell back their excess power.
"Our analysis shows that policy choices are a key driver of solar energy growth," said Gideon Weissman of Frontier Group, report co-author. “State and local government policy leadership is closely aligned with success in growing solar energy.”
Solar power tripled in the last three years nationwide, and is adding jobs much faster than the overall economy, employing 600 people in New Hampshire last year.
"With rapidly decreasing equipment costs, steadily increasing energy rates, and a politically supported Net Metering program, demand for Solar Energy is at an all time high,” said Johnathan Gregory from ReVision Energy, “Right along with this consumer demand naturally comes the fastest growing job creation sector of the national economy - Solar Energy contractors like ReVision Energy."
“It is imperative that we reduce the carbon pollution from power plants that are a major cause of climate change, said Rob Werner, City Councilor from Concord, “The EPA's Clean Power Plan will further encourage the development of renewable sources of energy such as solar that will create jobs and move us towards a more sustainable future. New Hampshire policymakers should support efforts to provide greater investments in renewable energy sources such as solar”
The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which sets state-by-state limits on carbon pollution from coal and gas power plants and was finalized last month, provides critical incentives for New Hampshire to accelerate its development of solar energy. According to Environment New Hampshire research, solar power could easily meet about half the pollution reduction targets required by the plan.
“We must chart a course to 100 percent clean energy to slow global warming,” said Wilkes. “The state’s recent growth in solar power is great/good news, but it only scratches the surface of what’s possible and what’s necessary to ensure a healthier, safer climate for our kids.”
Environment New Hampshire Research & Policy Center is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.environmentnewhampshirecenter.org